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Active Immunity vs. Passive Immunity: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sawaira Riaz || By Sumera Saeed || Updated on October 17, 2023
Active immunity results from exposure to the disease pathogen; passive immunity is acquired through antibodies from another source.

Key Differences

Active immunity arises when the body's immune system responds to a foreign agent, while passive immunity is provided by introducing external antibodies.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023
Active immunity is generally long-lasting due to memory cell formation, whereas passive immunity offers temporary protection as it lacks memory cells.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023
Active immunity can result from either natural exposure to a pathogen or vaccination, while passive immunity can be achieved by receiving pre-made antibodies, like in maternal antibody transfer.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023
For active immunity to develop, the immune system must recognize, respond to, and remember the antigen. In passive immunity, there's no direct antigen exposure or memory cell formation.
Sara Rehman
Oct 17, 2023
Active immunity requires a period for its development after exposure, while passive immunity grants immediate protection since antibodies are directly provided.
Sara Rehman
Oct 17, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Source of Immunity

Body's own immune response
External source of antibodies
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023

Duration

Generally long-lasting
Temporary
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023

Development Time

Takes time after exposure
Immediate protection
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023

Memory Cell Formation

Yes
No
Sara Rehman
Oct 17, 2023

Examples

Vaccination or natural infection
Maternal antibody transfer, antibody injections
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023
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Active Immunity and Passive Immunity Definitions

Active Immunity

Resistance developed from exposure to a disease or vaccination.
Her active immunity to measles resulted from her childhood vaccination.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023

Passive Immunity

Temporary protection as it lacks immune memory.
The passive immunity from the maternal antibodies will wear off after a few months.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023

Active Immunity

Protection arising from the body's own defense mechanisms.
Through active immunity, our body remembers pathogens for future defense.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023

Passive Immunity

Immunity sourced from another individual or animal.
The snakebite victim was given passive immunity through antivenom.
Sara Rehman
Oct 17, 2023

Active Immunity

Immune response that results in the production of specific antibodies or cells.
The vaccine works by stimulating active immunity against the flu virus.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023

Passive Immunity

Protection granted by introducing external antibodies.
Newborns receive passive immunity from their mother's breast milk.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 17, 2023

Active Immunity

A self-generated immune response to pathogens.
After recovering from chickenpox, he developed active immunity to the virus.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 17, 2023

Passive Immunity

Direct provision of antibodies, without direct antigen exposure.
Passive immunity can be a lifesaver when immediate protection is needed.
Harlon Moss
Oct 17, 2023

Active Immunity

Body's way of providing long-term protection after encountering an antigen.
Active immunity can keep certain diseases at bay for years or even a lifetime.
Janet White
Oct 17, 2023

Passive Immunity

Immunity acquired without the body generating a response.
He received passive immunity through an antibody serum injection.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023

FAQs

Why is passive immunity immediate?

Passive immunity grants immediate protection as antibodies are directly provided.
Sara Rehman
Oct 17, 2023

What is active immunity?

Active immunity is a self-generated immune response to pathogens or vaccines.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023

How do newborns benefit from passive immunity?

Newborns receive passive immunity from their mothers, protecting them from certain infections early in life.
Janet White
Oct 17, 2023

Can active immunity be transferred from one person to another?

No, active immunity can't be transferred, but passive immunity can through antibodies.
Sara Rehman
Oct 17, 2023

Is active immunity always better than passive immunity?

Not always. Active immunity provides long-term protection, but passive immunity is vital for immediate protection.
Janet White
Oct 17, 2023

Are there risks associated with passive immunity?

Yes, some people might have allergic reactions or other side effects to antibody treatments.
Janet White
Oct 17, 2023

Does active immunity last longer than passive immunity?

Yes, active immunity is generally long-lasting while passive immunity offers temporary protection.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023

Can both active immunity and passive immunity coexist in an individual?

Yes, an individual can have both active and passive immunity for different diseases.
Janet White
Oct 17, 2023

Why is passive immunity considered temporary?

Because the externally provided antibodies degrade over time without the body's own sustained response.
Sara Rehman
Oct 17, 2023

Is passive immunity natural or artificial?

It can be both; for instance, maternal transfer is natural, while antibody injections are artificial.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 17, 2023

Can active immunity be achieved without vaccines?

Yes, by naturally contracting and recovering from certain diseases.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 17, 2023

How does the body maintain active immunity?

Through memory cells that recognize and quickly respond to repeat exposures.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023

How is passive immunity acquired?

Passive immunity is acquired by introducing external antibodies, like through maternal transfer or injections.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 17, 2023

How does a vaccine contribute to active immunity?

Vaccines stimulate the body to produce its own antibodies, leading to active immunity.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 17, 2023

Why doesn't passive immunity have a memory component?

Passive immunity lacks memory because it introduces ready-made antibodies without triggering the body's own immune response.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023

What's an example of active immunity in daily life?

Recovering from diseases like chickenpox results in active immunity against future infections.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023

What's a common example of passive immunity?

Receiving antivenom after a snakebite introduces passive immunity against the venom.
Harlon Moss
Oct 17, 2023

Why might a doctor recommend passive immunity in some cases?

Passive immunity can offer immediate protection when there's no time for the body to develop its own response.
Harlon Moss
Oct 17, 2023

Does active immunity require direct exposure to the disease?

Not necessarily. Vaccinations can induce active immunity without causing the disease.
Janet White
Oct 17, 2023

Do all vaccines provide active immunity?

Most vaccines aim to provide active immunity, though some might offer passive components.
Janet White
Oct 17, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.
Edited by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.

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